Cubs 2021 by the numbers: Good, bad and mostly ugly


The NL Central champion Brewers had the Cubs' number all year long, as fans know by now.

But those 15 losses in 19 games only barely scratch the surface of the story of a historic, emotional and grueling 2021 Cubs season.

As the Cubs enter the offseason, here's a look at their 162-game campaign by the numbers:

69 — The Cubs set an MLB record for most players used in a single season, breaking a tie with the 2019 Mariners. They set the new mark in their season finale in St. Louis — catcher Tyler Payne pinch hit — and extended it when reliever Joe Biagini took the mound.

44 — Of those 69 players, 44 made their Cubs debut in 2021, breaking the franchise record (34) set in 2013. The record before that was 30 in 1902.

Fifteen of the 69 players made their MLB debuts this season with the Cubs.

71-91 The Cubs' worst record since going 66-96 in 2013.

17 — The combined career All-Star selections of four players traded in a 24-hour span before the trade deadline: Javy Báez (two), Anthony Rizzo (three), Kris Bryant (four) and Craig Kimbrel (eight). The group also includes two Rookies of the Year, five Gold Gloves, an MVP and four World Series champions.

5 — Players traded in July who made the postseason: Bryant (Giants), Rizzo (Yankees), Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera (White Sox) and Joc Pederson (Braves)

3 — Three players remaining on the roster, plus manager David Ross, from the 2016 championship team after the trade deadline: Willson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks and Jason Heyward.

2 — Players who were named All-Stars after the Cubs let them go in a cost-cutting offseason. They non-tendered Kyle Schwarber and traded Yu Darvish last December.

15 — Players on the Cubs’ 26-man Opening Day roster who weren’t with the team by the end of the season. Tepera, Kimbrel, Báez, Bryant, Rizzo, Pederson, Trevor Williams, Andrew Chafin and Jake Marisnick were traded; Arrieta, Dan Winkler, Brandon Workman, Tony Wolters and Eric Sogard were DFA’d and later released. Dillon Maples was released and outrighted to Triple-A.

1 — Ian Happ was the only player in the starting lineup for both Opening Day and the season finale.

RELATED: 2021 in review: Cubs' winding road in 'whirlwind' season

28 — Patrick Wisdom’s home run total, the most by a Cubs rookie in a season, surpassing the 26 Bryant hit in 2015. 

153 — Wisdom’s strikeout total in 375 plate appearances across 106 games. His 40.8 percent strikeout rate was the highest in the majors, minimum 300 plate appearances. His strikeout total would project to an MLB record (245) over 600 plate appearances over a full season.

5 — Game-winning hits by Frank Schwindel in a six-game span from Sept. 1-6, all during the Cubs’ season-high seven-game winning streak. Schwindel won NL Rookie of the Month in August and September behind a torrid two months offensively after the Rizzo trade.

9 — Catchers the Cubs used this season, a new franchise record. Behind starter Willson Contreras, Wolters, Austin Romine, P.J. Higgins, Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos, Taylor Gushue, Erick Castillo and Payne also appeared behind the plate. 

44 — Games played by Nico Hoerner, four less than he played in the 60-game 2020 season. Hoerner went on the injured list four times with a left forearm strain, left hamstring strain and right oblique strain.

11 — The most games the Cubs reached over .500, standing 38-27 on June 13.

5.27 — ERA by Cubs starting pitchers, 27th in MLB. The rest of the bottom five teams all lost 100 games: the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Pirates and Orioles.

0 — Complete games thrown in a nine-inning game by Cubs pitchers, their only season without one in franchise history.

Their only complete game this season was by Hendricks, a seven-inning outing in the opener of a May 4 doubleheader.

The only other season in which the Cubs did not have a pitcher throw nine innings at least once was 2010. Ryan Dempster had their lone complete game that season but threw eight innings because it was a loss on the road.

6.88 — Jake Arrieta’s ERA in 20 starts in his second stint with the Cubs before being released in August.

4 — Rookie pitchers signed and developed by the current front office regime, which took over 10 years ago, made at least one start for the Cubs: Adbert Alzolay (21), Justin Steele (nine), Keegan Thompson (six) and Cory Abbott (one).

Prior to that, only four other homegrown pitchers made six combined starts, plus six more by Alzolay.

43 — Quality starts by Cubs starting pitchers, 23rd in the majors. Kyle Hendricks threw 19 of those.

39-42 The Cubs posted a sub-.500 record at Wrigley Field for the first time since 2013 (31-50). 

7 — The 2022 draft position the Cubs secured after going 21-40 to finish the season, after their trade deadline week selloff began with the deal that sent Andrew Chafin to the A's.

Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer

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